CD Scavenger Hunt – March update

February may have been slow but I certainly made up for it in March with some great new releases, some used bargains and more than a few deals on Ebay and Amazon. Get ready, this is a long update!

Newbury Comics

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Krokus – Dirty Dynamite (2013) – $13
Hatriot – Heroes Of Origin (2013) – $9 used
Halcyon Way – Building The Towers (2010) – $6 used
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At Firefest V 2008 (2CD) (2010) – $6 used
Mass – ’84 Unchained (1985/2010 reissue) – $4 used
DC4 – Electric Ministry (2011) – $4 used
Psycho Motel – Welcome To The World (Japanese import) – $2 used

Flotsam & Jetsam – Cuatro (1992) – $3 used
Firewind – Allegiance (2006) – $6 used
Skid Row – Revolutions Per Minute (2006) – $7 used
Witch Mountain – Cauldron Of The Wild (2012) – $9 used
Anthrax – Anthems E.P. (2013) – $7
Adrenaline Mob – Coverta E.P. (2013) – $7
Clutch – Earth Rocker (2013) – $10
Lordi – To Beast Or Not To Beast (2013) – $13
Orden Ogan – To The End (2012) – $14
Rival Sons – Head Down (2012) – $14

Sinergy – To Hell And Back (2002) – $4 used
Ram Jam – Golden Classics (1996) – $4 used
Delain – April Rain (2009) – $6 used
Lost Horizon – A Flame To The Ground Beneath (2003) – $6 used
7th Heaven – Silver (2CD) (2003) – $6 used
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Dreams Of Fireflies E.P. (2013) – $7
Firewind – Few Against Many (2012) – $8 used

TNT – Tell No Tales (1987) – $10
DeAllen – Deceptions Of Reality (2002) – $6 used
Trivium – The Crusade (2006) – $6 used
Evergrey – Solitude, Dominance, Tragedy (1999) – $4 used
Evergrey – A Night To Remember Live 2004 (2005) – $4 used
Saxon – Sacrifice (Limited Edition) (2013) – $12
Stryper – Second Coming (2013) – $12

Enforcer – Death By Fire (2013) – $13
Sebastian Bach – Abachalypse Now (2CD/DVD) – $16
Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (2CD) (2013) – $20

Iron Maiden – Maiden England ’88 (DVD) (2013) – $15

Like I said…..this is going to be a long update!

The first trip to Newbury Comics in Warwick, RI was your basic run of the mill shopping trip, I was heading there to buy the new Krokus record, Dirty Dynamite. The cool thing about this trip was when I walked into the store, I noticed a new section labelled USED NEW ARRIVALS. I got the Krokus disc and went over to the new bin and found some great deals, the first of which was the new Hatriot album for $9 used. I went back over to the METAL section later and found a brand new copy of the Hatriot CD in the rack for $17, so I saved almost half! Other great buys from the new section: Halcyon Way, Jeff Scott Soto, Mass, DC4 and Psycho Motel. The Psycho Motel was an awesome find for $2 used because it was a Japanese import complete with all inserts and the OBI strip. I had just put the Psycho Motel records on my want list because I never really got into Adrian Smith’s work outside of Iron Maiden and then I find one extremely cheap…..not a bad deal!

My second CD hunt of March was a return to the scene of the previous week’s crime, I had to go back to the Newbury Comics in Warwick because of the great deals in that USED NEW ARRIVALS bin. Unfortunately, that bin had no new Metal in it and it was basically everything I already owned so I had to head over to the Metal section and see if any bargains came in during the week. Sure enough I found used copies of Flotsam & Jetsam’s Cuatro and Firewind’s Allegiance right away but the real gems were the Skid Row and Witch Mountain albums especially since they were both added to my want list within the last couple of weeks. The Skid Row CD was the only one I needed to complete their spot in my collection and I hadn’t seen a copy in the local stores in years but this one was actually sealed but marked used…..even better! I read about Witch Mountain online and sampled some of their songs so I put them on the want list too but I’ve held off because the regular price was between $15 – $17 depending on the store. I found this copy on the hunt for $9 used and saved around $6 compared to the one new copy that was also there. I also picked up some new albums as well from Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob, Clutch, Lordi, Orden Ogan and Rival Sons…..all on sale.

My third and fourth trip out on the hunt were on the same Sunday in March when my family and I headed to the closest Ikea store about an hour away for a bookcase. In the back of my mind, I know that there was a Newbury Comics near the entrance to the Ikea about a quarter mile away so, after the trip to Ikea, I was able to get to the Avon, MA Newbury Comics store and look for treasures. Now Newbury Comics is an independent record store chain in the Massachusetts/Rhode Island area that I’ve shopped at for the last 18 years, they are the closest thing we can get to “mom & pop” record stores in this area. Unfortunately, the Avon Newbury Comics sucks…..no selection at all. You can usually tell how a store is when you walk in and see their inventory size…..when the t-shirts, toys, comics and other paraphernalia has more floor space then the CDs & DVDs, you know you’re in trouble. I found used CDs from Sinergy, Ram Jam, Delain, Lost Horizon, 7th Heaven, and Firewind all for decent prices so there was a few things there but the gem of this rare visit was the latest Trans-Siberian Orchestra E.P. that I blew off when it first came out and I haven’t seen it since.

After the Avon store visit, it was time to head for home but I knew that if I went a certain route, I would drive by the Newbury Comics Norwood, MA store (basically the biggest one they have). I wasn’t going to leave without buying something but I found a few used bargains from TNT, DeAllen, Trivium, and Evergrey but I also decided to buy the latest from Stryper and Saxon (Sacrifice limited 2 disc edition) for $12 each.

The last trip of the month was back to the Warwick location for the new Enforcer, Sebastian Bach and Iron Maiden releases, all of which were new and on sale. Here’s my one complaint: Why do some bands decide to put out live releases with the CDs & DVDs packaged together and some who separately release each format? And a second complaint: Why are double CD live albums more expensive than double DVD live videos? The case for my arguement is Sebastian Bach vs. Iron Maiden. Sebastian Bach’s Abachalypse Now was released around the same time as Maiden England ’88 and it was a very similar package, a 2 CD/DVD package vs. Maiden’s separate 2 CD release and 2 DVD release. Now it’s probably a label thing but why can’t it be packaged together? $16 for Sebastian Bach and $35 for both Iron Maiden releases. It’s more than double for the complete Iron Maiden package! Then you add that the Maiden double CD is $5 more on sale than the Maiden double DVD! It’s just one of those things that bother me but I still spend the money anyway.

Best Buy, Amazon, Ebay and Bandcamp

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KISS – Monster (Exclusive Best Buy edition with 3D cover) (2012) – $12

Saxon – Saxon, Wheels Of Steel, Strong Arm Of The Law, Denim And Leather, Power And The Glory, Crusader, Rock The Nations (2009 remasters with bonus material)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Live (2006 remaster)
Triumph – Live At Sweden Rock (CD/DVD) (2012)
Steel Panther – British Invasion DVD (2013)

(Total Amazon order = $119)

Helix – Back For Another Taste (1990) – $12 used
Killer Dwarfs – Dirty Weapons (1990) – $9 used
Loudness – Lightning Strikes (1986) – $10 used
Return Of The Comet (A Tribute To Ace Frehley) (1997) – $15 used
Corsair – s/t (2013) – $9

Dreamer – Turn It Up (2011) – $10

So we start off the miscellaneous purchases with another version of KISS – Monster, this time from Best Buy with the 3D cover and supposed bonus track. Unfortuately, there is no bonus track on this edition, all the Best Buy CDs are just like the normal version. Bonus tracks were included on the iTunes download of the full album and the Japanese release. I have the regular CD and the Wal-Mart version in the special tour magazine so why not have all the versions? All I need now is the vinyl LP, the picture disc and the Japanese import!

I decided that I wanted to complete my Saxon remasters collection from 2009 and get all those bonus tracks so I put aside a few dollars from my tax refund and I picked up the 7 studio albums I needed to get it done. I also picked up The Eagle Has Landed Live 2006 remaster because they never re-did it in 2009. I also decided to get a couple of items off my Amazon wish list with the Triumph live release and the Steel Panther live DVD. The total came to $119 (less than $12 each item) and the Triumph and Steel Panther releases were priced significantly lower than the advertised sale prices that Newbury Comics had!

Ebay was another great way I picked up some older albums from Helix, Killer Dwarfs and Loudness but the two gems this month were the Ace Frehley tribute album and the latest album from Corsair. I read good things about the Corsair album so I decided to give it a try but I kept passing it over at the record shops because the regular price was $14. When I saw a brand new sealed copy going for $9 plus free shipping, I placed the bid and won the auction. The Return Of The Comet tribute album is one I’ve been searching for since 1997. Unfortunately, I didn’t pick this up when it first came out in 1997 during the KISS reunion hype and I’m not sure why I didn’t pull the trigger, I was devouring anything KISS at that time! I remember seeing it at an old mom & pop store back then but I passed probably figuring I could get it anytime and no one really cared about an Ace Frehley tribute CD. The the label, Shock Records, went under and the CD went out of print and that’s when I had to have it! I’ve been watching Ebay for years but have been unwilling to pay the $40 to $100 I’ve seen it end for. I started watching a certain auction for this CD back in January and it was going for $75 Buy It Now. I watched as the seller relisted the CD four times and lowered the price four times until the disc was $50. That’s when I stepped up and put in a “best offer” of $30…..the seller countered with $47. I waited again for the auction to end and the seller relisted the same CD again but back up to $75! I offered $30 again and was countered $65. Auction ends, no buyers, relist $70. Offer $30 again, auction ends, relist $70 again! finally I just shot the seller a nice email through Ebay saying that he was obviously not selling the item and I had been watching for almost two months and I was willing to buy it for $30 plus $5 shipping. I made the case that the CD wasn’t that rare (you can get it at KISS expos) and that it was way overpriced but I was willing to pay half. Basically the response was a “drop dead” sort of reply. About a couple of days later, a different seller listed a used copy of the same CD with free shipping for $15. It was a 5 day auction, I bid $30 and won it for the listed $15. After I paid via Paypal and secured the deal, I then emailed the first seller direct with a link to the completed auction…..needless to say, that first seller ended up relisting for the umpteenth time but this time at $35…..there are still no buyers! The last purchase was through Bandcamp.com for a local Rhode Island band Dreamer and their latest CD, Turn It Up. I always like to support local music, especially good local Rock music.

Total = $489

Total (year) = $867.50

Average Price (per item) = $9.43

Total CDs (year) = 87

Total BluRays or DVDs (year) = 2

Total Box Sets (year) = 3

The Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#1-#10)

I think I say the same things every year when I write the introduction to my Best of the Year list…..this year was one of the greatest years for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal! Every year it seems like more and more new albums come out from a wide variety of bands and 2010 was no exception, this was the biggest year for Heavy Metal Addiction as far as promotional review copies go. Usually, I physically buy all my new albums but this year I partnered with more labels, more promotional people and more bands and I received more albums for review than any other year. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up and I came nowhere close to listening to all of them properly. Looking at the piles on my desk, the boxes next to it and the separate iTunes folder I reserve for promo downloads, it’s easy to estimate that I have more new 2010 albums submitted to Heavy Metal Addiction than the last two years combined! Add in all the new releases I bought on my weekly trips to the record stores, and my daily online searches, and it’s fair to estimate that the total number of new releases from 2010 that I have right now at my desk is over 200.

The only criteria I followed for my Top 30 was the same criteria I’ve used for the last few years: the album had to be a studio album (not a live record, best of, or covers collection) AND the album had to be released in 2010. Just like previous years, an album that was released in 2009 overseas, but was released in 2010 for the U.S., qualified as a 2010 album…..basically I went by the date on the back of the CD! There are plenty of albums that got late U.S. releases and there may be a few in this countdown. 

The ranking of the Top 40 is based solely on my enjoyment of the album and not some scientific formula. Bottom Line: I had to like it! There were so many releases this year that I could have continued with a Top 40 list but I got so far behind listening and writing so there are definitely albums I haven’t heard yet or didn’t give proper time to. We’re talking a couple hundred albums though so anything that got missed might end up in an expanded “Albums I Missed in 2010″ post during next year’s awards week. Just like last year, I will be splitting the Top 30 into three posts so it’s easier to read. Be sure to check out the links to the album reviews. So here is Part 3, the Top 30 Albums of 2010 (#1 – #10):

#10

Mass – Sea Of Black (2010): The new Mass album was a complete surprise for me because I honestly really didn’t expect much. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get into Mass too much back in the ’80s, which is surprising because the band is from Massachusetts and that’s basically my backyard here in Rhode Island! I remember hearing a song called ‘Do You Love Me’ on the radio and I’ve seen the the albums on vinyl and cassette in old record stores but I never really got into the band. SEA OF BLACK is basically my formal introduction to the band it’s a great Melodic Rock/Melodic Metal album that has a serious ’80s retro sound. Opening track ‘Falling From Grace’ starts the album off right with a high powered Metal guitar crunch but with a great melodies and harmonies…..and that’s a perfect way to describe the album! Mass has re-released most of their back catalogue on Retrospect Records and they are also available on their website so now I will be filling the holes in my collection! http://www.massrocks.com/

#9

Keel – Streets Of Rock & Roll (2010): Keel was one of those bands from the ’80s that I got into because of the Gene Simmons connection but, as time went on, I forgot about the KISS connection because the band itself was really great. It’s been 21 years since the band released a true studio album so getting a reunion record as good as STREETS OF ROCK & ROLL is a major comeback. I liked the fact that the album sounds like classic ’80s Keel but with a grittier and deeper sound. Ron Keel’s voice sounds as good as it ever has, the band is as tight as it’s ever been and the quality of the songwriting is really great. A lot of times you get a reunion where the band is just going through the motions, and I thought that was going to be the case with Keel because of the 25th Anniversary of THE RIGHT TO ROCK, but the band stepped to the plate and made a Hard Rock album that could easily sit alongside the rest of their discography. http://keelnation.com/

#8

Krokus – Hoodoo (2010): 2010 was a year that a lot of bands who hadn’t been around in a while got back together and made a comeback album. Krokus has never really gone away because they’ve been releasing albums all along, the problem is that it’s never really been a true reunion, only just a member or two with a supporting cast. 2010 is the 30th anniversary since METAL RENDEZ-VOUS (1980), the band’s worldwide breakthrough album. Krokus had released three albums in the ’70s but the Metal really started in 1980. Back in the day, I was the only rocker I knew that new about Krokus so they were always like “my” band so I was looking forward to HOODOO a lot. HOODOO marks the reunion of the classic Krokus lineup from the ’80s and the band goes back to doing what they do best…..boogie woogie Hard Rock like AC/DC. That’s where Krokus sometimes gets a bad rep because AC/DC were the originators and it’s hard to imagine a band from Switzerland doing the same thing! It doesn’t matter if it’s a similar style, it’s good music that’s catchy and melodic all the while having great riffs that stick in your head.  HOODOO came out in April or early May but the single ‘Hoodoo Woman’ was released ahead of the album’s release, I still can’t get that chorus out of my head! A solid comeback, I hope this lineup does another album. http://krokusonline.seven49.net/Web/

#7

Masterplan – Time To Be King (2010): This is the third album in the row on this year’s countdown that’s a reunion and/or a comeback for a major band. The big selling point with Masterplan in 2010 is that Jorn Lande is back in the vocalist spot for the first time since 2005. The first two Masterplan albums were awesome but things happen sometimes and Jorn left in 2005 to be replace by ex-Riot singer Mike DiMeo for MKII (2006). This is another Power Metal/Progressive Metal album that really took hold of me as soon as I heard it. Maybe it’s because Jorn’s voice is so unique and he’s one of the top Metal singers around but all the songs are well-written, the musicianship is flawless and even the packaging is cool as a gold-embossed digipak. Just a quick mention here, drummer Mike Terrana is one of the most underrated drummers in Metal and he puts in an awesome performance on TIME TO BE KING. Definitely the best Power Metal album of the year and getting Jorn back in the band puts Masterplan right at the top of the heap again. http://www.master-plan.net/

#6

Crazy Lixx – New Religion (2010): Sweden’s Crazy Lixx have been on the scene for a few years now releasing single until their 2007 studio album LOUD MINORITY. When I heard that the band was releasing their second album in late March/early April, I really didn’t pay much attention to it because I really haven’t jumped on the Swedish Glam/Sleaze/Hard Rock scene that has really started to make waves around the world. I had an advance of the album and I gave it a quick listen and I was blown away! Here’s a band from Sweden that’s relatively unknown and they do ’80s Hard Rock better than some of the bands of that era! NEW RELIGION is one of the best Hard Rock albums to come out this year and I still haven’t taken it out of my weekly playlist. Big hooks and harmonies, guitar solos, and good time party Rock. I really enjoyed the Wig Wam’s NON STOP ROCK ‘N ROLL that also came out this year but NEW RELIGION takes it to a higher level and easily outshines that record. Definitely an album that travels back in time to the fun and excess of the ’80s and sounds fresh here in the 2000s. http://www.crazylixx.com/

#5

Black Country Communion – s/t (2010): Wow! Where did this album come from? Where did this band come from? Supergroups come and go and usually disappoint but, when you put Glenn Hughes on vocals & bass, Joe Bonamassa on guitars, Jason Bonham on drums and Derek Sherinian on keyboards, that’s a lineup of awesome musicians. But does it work? That’s the main thing and I was pretty skeptical, so much so that I blew off buying this CD for a couple of months and I didn’t pick it up until November. I put this in and I haven’t taken it out of my weekly rotation, Black Country Communion is a band that has a Classic Rock sound based on a combination of the Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll. It sounds like old school ’70s Rock that really sounds fresh today. Glenn Hughes is an amazing singer and Joe Bonamassa is a truly fantastic guitarist with a great feel, if you don’t know anything about these two musicians then you should Google them immeadiately and listen to some of their previous works. I almost put this in the #1 slot on this year’s countdown but, as I started re-listening to a lot of the albums from earlier in the year, I had to put four others ahead because of their impact. Black Country Communion is a band and album everyone should  check out. http://www.bccommunion.com/

#4

Scorpions – Sting In The Tail (2010): As soon as the Scorpions announced the release of STING IN THE TAIL, they also announced that this will be their last studio album and that the band is retiring. Sad news indeed to hear from a Hard Rock band that has been around for nearly 40 years but, if this is how they are going to go out, then STING IN THE TAIL is the way to do it! I was a huge fan of the updated sound the band created on their last studio album, HUMANITY HOUR 1 (2007), that I made it the Best Album of 2007 so I was looking for a continuation of that direction. This new record is really a continuation of the classic Scorpions Hard Rock sound from the BLACKOUT (1982) and LOVE AT FIRST STING (1984) eras. At first, I felt like this was a big step back for the band because they had done such a great job on HUMANITY but, after constant listens, this album grew on me and it’s become one of my favorites of the year. I got into the Scorpions with BLACKOUT and LOVE AT FIRST STING so this new album really brought me back in time and made me go back over the entire Scorpions discography…..they are one of the most consistent bands in the scene. Think about it, aside from EYE II EYE (1999), when was the last time you heard that a Scorpions album sucked? This may not be the best Scorpions album compared to the classics they have but it’s a great Hard Rock album and one I enjoyed a lot this year. http://www.the-scorpions.com/english/

#3

Accept – Blood Of The Nations (2010): In a year full of reunions and comebacks, Accept was really one of those bands that could have either hit it big or crashed and burned. One listen to BLOOD OF THE NATIONS and it’s easy to hear that they easily hit it big! A classic Accept lineup reunited headed by lead guitarist Wolf Hoffmann but the distinct Accept vocalist, Udo Dirkschneider, refused to take part. That meant the band needed a singer and the biggest question mark would be former T.T. Quick frontman Mark Tornillo. The band wrote an album of killer Heavy Metal songs, put in a ton of great riffs and then Mark put in a brilliant performance on vocals. Not every band can replace such a unique singer like Udo, Accept tried that back in 1989, but Accept really hit with Mark. I can’t say enough about how Mark sounds like Udo but really puts his own stamp on the songs and takes everything to another level. I’m not sure that BLOOD OF THE NATIONS would have the same impact if Udo did re-join the band. Here’s hoping the band continues making new records because they have set the bar high, one of the best comeback albums of the year! http://www.acceptworldwide.com/

#2

Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (2010): Iron Maiden is no stranger to my year end countdowns because they always release such high quality albums and DVDs that it’s hard not to automatically install them at #1. So 30 years have gone by since the band’s self-titled debut and it’s been four years since the band’s last album A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (2006), so how did Maiden do? Well, I called this the album of the year in my review and it came so damn close! Say what you want about Metallica but I would argue that Iron Maiden is the biggest Heavy Metal band in the world and they make better albums then Metallica could ever hope to make. There is a tradition, a pedigree, a reputation that Iron Maiden has and they always rise to the task and create albums that just blow every other album away. THE FINAL FRONTIER gets better with every listen with some much to hear in every song. I know a lot of old school and/or casual fans prefer to hear the quick ‘Run To The Hills’ style Iron Maiden but the band is at their best when they write new material that has a Progressive edge to it. THE FINAL FRONTIER is a 76 minute album that reflects both styles and I haven’t stopped listening to it. A lot of that has to do with being a fan for 28 years and Maiden being in my Top 5 favorite bands of all-time but the album is high quality crafted Metal. Iron Maiden are legends and innovators and everyone else should follow their lead. http://www.ironmaiden.com/

One album to go everyone! The #1 album is next but before I get to it let me say again how great this year was for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal…..my Best of 2010 list, along with the other websites’ lists, will attest to that. I’ve listened to more new releases this year than any other year that I can remember and this year’s list was a hard one to make, there were so many really good albums, so many comebacks and reunions that it became one of the hardest lists to make in the site’s 5 year history. I really had a tough time with this list because I kept going back and forth between the new Iron Maiden record and this next album…..so here is my #1 Album of 2010…..

#1

Ratt – Infestation (2010)

2010 was definitely the year of the Ratt! I never thought that after eleven years since the last reunion and album that Ratt would ever get back together with founding vocalist Stephen Pearcy since there was so much bad blood and legal issues but the band put that stuff aside and set out to make INFESTATION. I’ve been a Ratt fan since OUT OF THE CELLAR (1984) and they have always been one of my favorite ’80s Hard Rock bands. I was psyched to see them on the 1999 Poison reunion tour and I thought they blew Poison away so I was hoping for a full tour after this album was released. Unfortunately, it seems like the band have gone their separate ways again and the future is in doubt for a follow-up album. INFESTATION is the classic Ratt sound: sleazy old school Hard Rock. Right from the opening rocker ‘Eat Me Up Alive’ to the classic ’80s style single ‘Best Of Me’ to the swagger of ‘Look Out Below’, Ratt has really pulled out all the stops writing some really solid songs. The founding trio of Pearcy, drummer Bobby Blotzer and guitarist Warren DeMartini are all on board, as is long time bassist Robbie Crane, but the addition of former Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazo really stabilizes the band’s sound in a way that hasn’t been heard since the glory days when the late Robbin Crosby traded licks with DeMartini. I bought this album the day it was released in April and it still gets plenty of playing time in my weekly rotation and if I had to name a song of the year, it would easily be ‘Best Of Me’, that song alone brings the band right back to the classic Ratt style of the ’80. Of all the albums I heard this year, INFESTATION is the one I enjoyed the most. Great album, great comeback…..too bad it’s probably over already! http://www.therattpack.com/

Krokus – Hoodoo (2010)

Krokus – Hoodoo (2010, Sony Music)

  1. Drive It In
  2. Hoodoo Woman
  3. Born To Be Wild
  4. Rock ‘n’ Roll Handshake
  5. Ride Into The Sun
  6. Too Hot
  7. In My Blood
  8. Dirty Street
  9. Keep Me Rollin’
  10. Shot Of Love
  11. Firestar

Band Lineup:
Marc Storace – Lead Vocals
Fernando Von Arb – Lead Guitars & Background Vocals
Chris Von Rohr – Bass & Background Vocals
Mark Kohler  – Rhythm Guitars
Freddy Staedy – Drums

Guest Musicians:
Kenny Aronoff – Drums
Mark Fox – Vocals

Producer: Chris Von Rohr

Country: Switzerland

Total Time = 42:54

Krokus
Krokus MySpace page

Krokus have been making their own special brand of boogie woogie, AC/DC styled Hard Rock for 34 years…..that’s one hell of a long time to keep doing the same thing over and over, album after album! Krokus burst onto the ’80s Metal scene with albums like METAL RENDEZ-VOUS in 1980, HARDWARE in ’81 and ONE VICE AT A TIME in ’82 closely following the Hard Rock formula laid down by AC/DC in the ’70s with Bon Scott on the mic, Krokus lead singer Marc Storace’s voice having an uncanny resemblance to the late Scott. I discovered Krokus between ONE VICE AT A TIME and their breakthough record HEADHUNTER (1983) when the band was getting a ton of press in magazines like Hit Parader and Circus and videos played on MTV.

The band was pretty successful and even scored a couple minor hits but the problem for Krokus has always been that they get criticized for everything: from their sound, to their outfits, to their choice of using cover songs as lead singles. As quick as they rose, they fell just as quick. By 1988, lineup changes and questionable musical directions splintered the band and they couldn’t keep up with the rest of the Metal scene. Over the years, integral members like Storace, guitarist Fernando Von Arb and bassist Chris Von Rohr have left and comeback again making the Krokus lineup as unstable as any in the Metal world…..the band’s last album, HELLRAISER (2006), only featured Marc Storace! That’s why HOODOO is such an important release, not only is it a reunion of the classic early ’80s lineup but it is also a return to the gritty Hard Rock that rivals the masters in AC/DC and sits well alongside other Aussie barroom bangers like Rose Tattoo, The Angels (or Angel City depending on what name they are using this year!) and newcomers Airbourne. Hard to believe Krokus is from Switzerland and not Australia!

Opening track ‘Drive It In’ is vintage Bon Scott-era AC/DC with it’s driving rhythm and slick vocals. Right away you can hear the old school Krokus from back in the ’80s because the music sounds so dated (in a good way) and Marc Storace sounds like he hasn’t aged 28 years since ONE VICE AT A TIME. The first single from the album is basically the title track, ‘Hoodoo Woman’. For my money, I might have released a different song as the first single because ‘Hoodoo Woman’ is not your signature Krokus style song, it is like a Krokus/ZZ Top hybrid with Von Arb & Mark Kohler combining to do their best Billy Gibbons imitation. Now I’m not saying that ‘Hoodoo Woman’ is a bad track, it’s just a little out of place and that’s always been one of Krokus’ problems. I actually like the song and I applaud the band for straying a little from the AC/DC vibe and using a Southern Rock style boogie instead, it breaks things up a bit from the usual fare.

Of course no matter how promising a Krokus record is, they find a way to follow the trends that hurt the band so much in the ’80s by including a cover song. Over the years, krokus has unfortunately treated us to more than a few cover songs on their albums: The Guess Who’s ‘American Woman’, The Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’…..now it’s Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’. Do I really have to get into this? Aside from my hatred of cover songs on studio albums, Krokus has unfortunately committed this crime way too many times over the years. ‘Born To Be Wild’ is your basic cover of the original but the main riff also sounds similar to AC/DC’s ‘Shoot To Thrill’. Is this a Krokus-fied similarity or has the original Steppenwolf version always sounded like that? I can’t believe I’m caring so much!

Back to doing what they do best, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Handshake’ sounds a little weird lyrically but it’s a very catchy song and ‘Ride Into The Sun’ showcases the band’s balladeering ability similar to their 1983 hit ‘Screaming In The Night’. I would put ‘Ride Into The Sun’ as one of the top tracks on the album because it shows that Krokus can do a lot more when they move out of the Rose Tattoo worship (I got sick of comparing them to AC/DC, same thing though!). The opening to ‘Too Hot’ reminds me of ‘Hot Blooded’ by AOR legends Foreigner but as you move into the middle of the song you can hear a bit of KISS in there as well. I’ve read a few reviews online that mentioned this odd pairing of influences and I sat back at listened closely, you hear the Foreigner thing right away but it leaves just as quick. The ‘Lick It Up’ sound is subtle in the middle of the song, just a couple of quick licks but you can definitely hear it. That said, ‘Too Hot’ is an infectious song with a solid hook in the chorus to get you singing along right away and one of my favorites on the album. ‘In My Blood’ picks the tempo up a bit with a serious chug on par with similar AC/DC nuggets complete with the sleazy Bon Scott vocalization.

Every Krokus album has a surprise track that really stands out and the one on HOODOO is ‘Dirty Street’, a bluesy rocker that has a ton of grit and a slight Aerosmith influence if you listen really close…..definitely an album highlight! Revving things up a notch, ‘Keep Me Rolling’ takes us out of the Blues and back into uptempo Angus Young riffery but the cool part is the underlying bass groove by Chris Von Rohr. I was going to lose my mind when I saw ‘Shot Of Love’ in the tracklisting because I thought it was a second cover song of AC/DC’s ‘Shot Of Love’ from THE RAZOR’S EDGE (1990) but I was thankfully wrong. Krokus’ ‘Shot Of Love’ is AC/DC influenced but it’s an original and blends in well with the overall sound of the album. The last cut on the album is the fast and heavy ‘Firestar’, another surprise track that proves to be a standout and sounds a little like the classic ‘Headhunter’ (from 1983’s HEADHUNTER) in some parts but less metallized. A great way to end a solid record!

Bottom Line:
I was expecting a lot from Krokus because they are one of my favorite bands. I know I say that about a lot of bands but, back in the ’80s, I was the only Krokus fan in my area. I tried like crazy to get my friends into Krokus but none of them ever did…..Krokus has always been one of my bands, ones of those gems you keep for yourself. With the announcement of the reunited classic early ’80s lineup, and a return that era’s sound, I expected a classic Krokus record and that’s what I got. Krokus is always going to have the stigma of being AC/DC clones by many fans but is it really a stigma if Krokus does it better than the masters themselves? I really enjoyed this album from the start (except the cover song) and I compared it to the last AC/DC record, BLACK ICE (2008), and I like HOODOO a lot more. I’m not bashing AC/DC, I’m praising Krokus. To have so much turnover with the personnel over the years, a reunion is a definite shot in the arm and Krokus has taken that shot and created an album that is on par with some of their best work. I would rank HOODOO right up their with the classic albums of the 1980-1984 era and I am positive that this record will be one of my top albums of 2010.

Favorite Songs:
‘Drive It In’, ‘Hoodoo Woman’, ‘Ride Into The Sun’, ‘Dirty Street’, ‘Keep Me Rollin’, ‘Firestar’

CD Scavenger Hunt – 30 day update

I got my taxes done in early February so the annual refund windfall my family receives is always a welcome event to start the new year. I’ve spent a lot of money in the last 30 days between paying down debt, buying new furniture, a big T.V. and a long-awaited Playstation 3. I spent a little bit of money on music but not a lot, I’ve just been keeping up with some of the newer releases and a few that I missed in 2009. So here’s what I picked up in the last month or so…..

Foreigner – Can’t Slow Down (2009) – $12: This was one of the albums that I missed in 2009 that I had heard so many good things about but never got around to setting foot in a Wal-Mart because I hate it so much. If I have to go into a Wal-Mart for any reason then it means that either my wife has brought me in or whatever I need is only available there. The last time I was in Wal-Mart was when I bought another exclusive, KISS – SONIC BOOM (2009). I should have just bought this new Foreigner album then but I didn’t for some strange reason. Same deal as other Wal-Mart exclusives: a 3 disc set including the new record, a CD of re-recorded hits and a live concert DVD. Great value, bad retail environment.

Overkill – Ironbound (2010) – $10: I hadn’t set foot in the record store in a couple of weeks so I went in specifically to get the new Overkill after I went to the Wal-Mart to buy the Foreigner album. I can’t remember the last time I missed an Overkill record and I wasn’t going to miss this one especially with a great release day sale price! How can you beat saving $6 off the regular price by picking the album up the day of release, or at least the week of release?

Icarus Witch – Draw Down The Moon (2010) – $9: Of course going to the record store means that you’re probably going to buy more than one CD and I started going through the Metal section. I completely forgot that the new Icarus Witch album had come out and I was shocked by the low sale price. If you’ve followed this blog for a while then you know that Icarus Witch is one of my favorite new bands of the last 4 to 5 years so this was an easy purchase.

Heavenly – Carpe Diem (2010) – $15: Can you guess by the album cover what type of Metal this is? If you guessed Power Metal…..you’re correct. CARPE DIEM was released on AFM Records everywhere but North America in the Fall of 2009 and I’ve had the digital promo from the label since then. I just can’t embrace downloading as a form of ownership yet (a topic for another time!), I’m an old school collector and I still like the CD, cassette, vinyl, or DVD in my hands. Like I said, AFM Records sent me the digital promo and the album is really good so I put this on my want list to physically own. The problem is that all the online stores I shop at, including Ebay, offered the European import from 2009 for $20+ and then a shipping charge on top of that! I wasn’t about to pay $25+ for a CD when I could wait patiently for a U.S. release. Same label, same packaging, same music but at least $10 cheaper by waiting.

Keel – Streets Of Rock ‘n’ Roll (2010) – $13: Same situation as Heavenly: I received the digital promo from the label, it’s a great album, put it on the want list because I want to own the physical product. I always wondered why Keel never got back together during the reunion boom of the last 15 years but it was definitely worth the wait because this new record is solid. Sale price was unadvertised and there was only one copy at the store so I snatched it up and saved a few bucks off the regular price and the online price at my online shops.

Keel – The Right To Rock (25th Anniversary Edition) (2010 reissue) – $13: It’s hard to believe that 25 years has gone by since this album came out. I have been a Keel fan since 1984 when they released their debut LAY DOWN THE LAW and I bought THE RIGHT TO ROCK on cassette when it came out back in the day. In the late ’90s when I got the Internet, I started to fill holes in my collection and there were a few Keel albums I needed to get on CD. I picked up a used copy of the 2000 reissue CD on the Metal Mayhem label but there has been some debate over the years if that was an official release or a bootleg (I always considered it an official release). Same situation as the new Keel album: I received a digital promo from the label and put it on the want list even though I already owned it…..I got a little excited over the reunion, the new record and the bonus track – ‘The Right To Rock (Reunion version)’.

Manowar – Hell On Earth V DVD – $30: I have been waiting for the latest installment of HELL ON EARTH to hit my local record store ever since Manowar’s website announced the release for all territories due in late November 2009. Unfortunately, North America was skipped! It’s been available through the Manowar website, online stores and Ebay ever since but for $40 – $50 + shipping depending on where you look. I was going to buy it directly from the band but it was $40 + shipping and I thought that was too much for a 2 DVD set. I caught the Newbury Comics weekly email on Monday and saw this was a new release with a $30 sale price so I figured I better get down there first thing Tuesday morning in case there was only a couple of copies. Manowar may have released some subpar albums in the last 10 years but their DVDs are awesome…..they rival both Iron Maiden and KISS for the top spot in Heavy Metal DVD releases. The only problem I had was that I got home and found out I’m missing HELL ON EARTH (Part IV) from 2007! Guess what just made the want list?

I spent a few bucks online at Ebay and a couple of shops also…..here’s the online take…..

Lynzee – Lost In America (2009) – FREE: That’s right…..a free CD! I entered a contest over at the Hair Metal Mansion and Andrew picked my name to win one of the three Lynzee releases he was giving away. Not a bad deal! This album is released through the excellent reissue label Retrospect Records and it’s a compilation of songs from Lynzee’s first two demos, some unreleased material and four new tracks re-done from the original masters way back in the day. If it’s free then it’s for me! It’s a cool way to discover a new band.

Dream Evil – In The Night (2010) – $15: I could have bought this one in the record store but it was the regular jewel case version and not the limited edition with the 2 bonus tracks, extended artwork and patch. Which one do you think I wanted? I checked all the online stores and the limited edition was going for $22+ so I started watching Ebay. I found a seller I’ve done business with in the past and he/she had 5 sealed copies with a BUY IT NOW price of $15…..one click of the mouse and it was mine!

Uncle Slam – Say Uncle (2010 reissue) – $15: The original pressing and the Japanese import always go for big bucks on Ebay and I have had this on my want list for a long time. When I got the press release from Tribunal/Divebomb Records about the reissue, I made a mental note to watch the street date closely. Of course, then I forgot all about it. The label had a special sale that ran for a limited time where you could get this reissue for $12 + $3 shipping, saving at least $5 off the regular price. I received a reminder email that the sale was ending soon and, with an hour to spare, I ordered my CD.

Krokus – Pay It In Metal (1978) – $10: I’m a big Krokus fan and I have always kept the first few Krokus albums on my Ebay watch list. I’ve had the opportunity before to buy PAY IT IN METAL but I’ve always passed because there was always something else to buy. This is actually a vinyl LP, in mint condition, and I won it at auction for $5. Add $5 for shipping and you get the total paid. PAY IT IN METAL is the third Krokus record and it is the same exact album as PAINKILLER (1978)…..the only difference is that the artwork and album title were changed for different countries. There are supposed to be five different covers for this record but I have only seen three: the PAINKILLER album, this U.S. version of PAY IT IN METAL and the German version of PAY IT IN METAL that has the peeled banana of coins. See the Krokus website for more details.

Knightmare – Unholy (2008) – $5: Another Ebay purchase at a great price! I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Australia’s Knightmare but I did and I did some research. UNHOLY is a 5 track E.P. that was limited to 500 copies worldwide and it is now out of print…..that means I had to have one! I found this one on Ebay for $1 and I waited until the last minute of the auction to make a bid…..add the $4 shipping and I got a great bargain on a rare CD.

Total = $142

Total (year) = $179

Total CDs (year) = 20

Total DVDs (year) = 1

Total LPs (year) = 1

Ebay Madness – Vinyl Edition: Ritual, Demolition, Krokus, Thunder Rider, Sunset

Vinyl! Vinyl! Vinyl!

I don’t know what it is but I just love finding obscure Heavy Metal vinyl selling for big bucks on Ebay. Maybe it’s because I have a turntable again but I started turning back to vinyl last year, without a turntable, as more of a nostalgia thing. I spent my formative Metal years scrounging through racks of LPs in local record stores looking at the covers and soaking in all the information. When searching Ebay, I found that a lot of obscure Metal albums on CD were readily available, in good condition, on vinyl for affordable prices. Economics dictate my collecting and I would rather spend $20 on an LP than $200 on a CD and some of the albums I was tracking were going for high prices just because they were CDs. That doesn’t mean all vinyl is cheap! There is a vinyl revival that has been growing every year and it has infiltrated the Metal world, many bands now release their new albums with a limited vinyl pressing. That also means some original vinyl presses of obscure albums are skyrocketing especially when CDs are not available or the reissues of said albums have suspect sound quality or are shoddy bootlegs. Either format can bring out the best bargains or the highest prices.

So here are some rare high priced Heavy Metal records that I have found, maybe some of you have them……

sunset-forgotten-kingdomSunset – Forgotten Kingdom (1986) = $103.49

Seller: shermy67
Starting Price = $99.99
Bids = 2

Here’s a band I’ve never heard of but someone must have because they decided that a starting price of 100 bucks was reasonable. I couldn’t find much information on Sunset except that they were a Melodic Metal band from the U.S. and this is their only release. The only other thing I found is that there is a bootleg of this album on Racer Records but I haven’t found any information online about it. There is a page at Vibrations Of Doom where you can listen to this album: http://vibrationsofdoom.com/test/test2/Sunset.html

 

thunder-rider-tales-of-darkness-and-lightThunder Rider – Tales Of Darkness And Light (1987) = $258

Seller: sunset-bomber
Starting Price = $9.99
Bids = 17

I don’t know much about Thunder Rider except that the band is from Canada. There really isn’t much information out there except that the band released a second album in 2002 and that this album was re-released on CD in 1997. The band does have a website (www.thunderrider.com) but it doesn’t seem like it’s been updated in a long time. There is a page at Vibrations Of Doom where you can listen to this album: http://www.vibrationsofdoom.com/test/ThunderRider.html

 

krokus-1st-lp-19761Krokus – s/t (1976) = $270

Seller: j.piero
Starting Price = $9.99
Bids = 24

This one is on my Want List! You don’t see this album all that much and I have been searching for this since 1998 when I found out Krokus had a self-titled album. In the last 11 years I’ve only seen two auctions on Ebay and both went over $100. The seller is from Switzerland and that makes sense because that’s where Krokus is from. If there is any place that there are some copies of this album it’s Switzerland! If you watch Ebay closely, you’ll see CD versions of this album from time to time but I found out that they are bootlegs. This album has never been released on CD, I found that out straight from the Krokus website. The album was graded G+ for the cover and VG+ for the vinyl and this auction ended on Feb 11, 2009 and that is significant because…..

 

krokus-1st-lp-1976-pic-2Krokus – s/t (1976) = $380

Seller: humblebeetree
Buy It Now Price = $380
Bids = 1

…..this auction ended two days earlier (Feb 9, 2009) with BUY IT NOW for a Near Mint copy (both cover and vinyl NM). This seller was located in Switzerland and the auction set the going rate for a really good copy of the record. That’s probably why the other auction had so many bids and went so high.

 

demolition-hooker-hater-axeman 7 inchDemolition – Hooker Hater/Axeman 7″ single (1981)  = $886.54

Seller: rattlehead14
Starting Price = $3
Bids = 21

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) always brings out the the rarest of the rare and the highest prices of all. This near mint 7″ single is no exception…..it started at $3 and went up to $886+, that’s a lot of money! Birmingham, England’s Demolition only released the two tracks and then disappeared like so many hopeful bands did back in the day. I tried to find some extra information on Demolition but there really isn’t much online or in The NWOBHM Encyclopedia (by Malc MacMillan). I did find out that High Vaultage Records released a CD titled WRECKING CREW in 2006 and it compiled the two songs on this single, 5 demos and 12 live tracks from 1981 that includes some songs that never made it to vinyl. Save those pennies because you can find the CD from time to time for around $25.

I’ve saved the best for last…..the most expensive vinyl LP I’ve seen in a long time…..

ritual-widow-1983Ritual – Widow (1983) = $1246.19

Seller: swirlingorgan
Starting Price: $1218
Bids = 2

I’m not sure if this is the “holy grail” of NWOBHM vinyl but the price sure dctates that somebody out there thinks it is. Congratulations to the seller for getting $1200+ for a simple record in this tough world economy…..at least it’s in Excellent condition. Supposedly the seller bought two copies from the daughter of the band’s former manager and the master tapes no longer exist. this pressing of the album has the distinction of the band name NOT being included on the cover, only the title. A lot of confusion surrounds the album and the band’s actual name, many think it’s Widow. Good news for everyone interested, Shadow Kingdom Records has reissued this album on CD with new artwork, 4 bonus tracks, extra liner notes and original artwork and photos. You can order it through CD Baby or through the band’s MySpace page.

Metal Mixtape – 10/12/08

Tale Of The Tape:
Dell DJ 30 (1st Gen)
4555 songs (385 albums)

One of the problems with taking a weekend off is that you need to take care of all the little things around the house that you let slip when you are working and doing all the things you need to do to keep life going. I had some chores around the house to do, bills to pay, a dog to walk and a house that needs it’s Halloween transformation. The only way to get through it is to put the headphones on, press SHUFFLE, and go about your business! Here’s the first 20 songs that played…..

  1. Tygers Of Pan Tang – ‘Badger Badger’ (1980)
  2. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Angel Eyes’ (2008)
  3. Uriah Heep – ‘Tears Of The World’ (2008)
  4. Icarus Witch – ‘Queen Of Lies’ (2007)
  5. Alcatrazz – ‘God Blessed Video’ (1985)
  6. UFO – ‘Hunger In The Night’ (1988)
  7. Alice Cooper – ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ (1971)
  8. Extreme – ‘Slide’ (2008)
  9. Iron Maiden – ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’ (1984)
  10. Mogg-Way – ‘Totaled’ (1997)
  11. Motley Crue – ‘Down At The Whiskey’ (2008)
  12. Judas Priest – ‘Wheels Of Fire’ (2005)
  13. U.D.O. – ‘ The Devil Walks Alone’ (2007)
  14. Mogg-Way – ‘Death In The Family’ (1999)
  15. Krokus – ‘Shotgun Boogie’ (1990)
  16. Scorpions – ‘Mind Like A Tree’ (1999)
  17. Saxon – ‘Empty Promises’ (1986)
  18. Krokus – ‘Backstabber’ (1999)
  19. Balance Of Power – ‘No Place Like Home’ (2003)
  20. Black Sabbath – ‘Zero The Hero’ (1983)

Bonus Track: KISS – ‘Charisma’ (1979)

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986, Arista)

  1. Long Stick Goes Boom
  2. Eat The Rich
  3. Screaming In The Night
  4. Hot Shot City
  5. Midnite Maniac
  6. Bedside Radio
  7. Lay Me Down
  8. Stayed Awake All Night
  9. Headhunter

Total Time = 41:59

Krokus official website

Krokus is one of those bands that I have been a big fan since the early ’80s and everyone else says, “Who?”. I got into Krokus back in late 1983 with the classic HEADHUNTER album and the two singles/videos ‘Screaming In The Night’ and ‘Eat The Rich’…..they were always on MTV. I had read about the band in Circus and the band was featured regularly so I had another new band to check out. I bought HEADHUNTER and sometime shortly after I picked up thier first three U.S. releases (METAL RENDEZ-VOUS, HARDWARE, ONE VICE AT A TIME) on vinyl in a cut-out bin. None of my friends knew about Krokus, or they thought they sucked, so these Swiss metallers became “my” band. I remember buying THE BLITZ (1984) on the sole basis of the single/video ‘Midnite Maniac’ but the album seemed a little less aggressive then the first four records. That’s when things started to go downhill…..

CHANGE OF ADDRESS was released in 1986 and the band had taken a more commercial Hard Rock sound. Songs like ‘Our Love’ and ‘Burning Up The Night’ were melodic Hard Rock songs trying to capitalize on the Sunset Strip Pop Metal scene, they changed their sound and image, and they became a different band from the one that released the molten Metal of HEADHUNTER 3 years before. I had bought CHANGE OF ADDRESS the week it came out at a local department store, Apex, and was disappointed big time when the first single was a cover of Alice Cooper’s ‘School’s Out’. (It should be noted that Krokus had a habit of including a cover tune on each album when they released ONE VICE AT A TIME in ’82). A few months after the new album’s release, I saw an ad in a magazine for a Krokus live album, I figured this was the last gasp for the band.

I gave Krokus one last shot and picked up ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ a couple of weeks after it came out at my town’s best mom & pop record store: Luke’s Record Exchange. I had walked over there, a little over a mile and a half, with my Walkman and picked it up. I played the tape on the walk back home and I felt a little better about the band. Looking at the tracklist, 4 out of 9 songs were off HEADHUNTER and there was only one track from CHANGE OF ADDRESS (‘Hot Shot City’). There was also a new song too called ‘Lay Me Down’ (that hasn’t appeared on any other album) and it sounded cool live…..there was hope! All the big singles were there from previous albums and it was like a cool greatest hits tape. All the songs sounded great, even ‘Hot Shot City’, so I took another less critical listen to CHANGE OF ADDRESS. Of all the live albums I had at the time, I think ALIVE & SCREAMIN’ was the one live album I carried in my backpack the most during the school year. I listened to it on the walk to and from school, at practice, on the way to friends houses…..it became a soundtrack to part of my freshman year of high school.

Listening to it 22 years after it’s initial release, I find the production a bit thin and the setlist too safe and short. There’s not really much bite to the rhythm section in the mix and Marc Storace is way uo front with the vocals on some songs. The keyboard fills during ‘Hot Shot City’ bothered me then and they still do today because it sounds like they were purposely pushed up to overshadow Fernando Von Arb’s guitar. It almost sounds like they were overdubbed because I don’t remember Krokus using any keyboards live in the concert reviews I read. The album is only 9 songs clocking in at 45 minutes so it’s regular album length when most of the live albums of the time were double albums. Krokus certainly had good material, and they had a new album to tour for, so I’m a little surprised the band didn’t do a couple more CHANGE OF ADDRESS tunes or any of the covers to lengthen the album. It’s sounds like an opening band’s set, not a headliner’s. Back in the mid-80s, everything had to be bigger, better, faster so I don’t understand why they band didn’t follow their peers’ lead. Despite the flaws I hear now, I still enjoy it today because it brings back some great memories of high school and afternoons spent with a bunch of Rock mags and my stereo.

Live Album Week

After taking most of September off from the site, and from the Internet all together, I decided to get myself into gear and end September with something I’ve been planning for awhile…..Live Album Week!

All the Live Album reviews are after this post.

This week is dedicated to some of the most influential live albums that I have listened to over the years. Most of these are my all-time favorite live albums but, most importantly, each album helped me discover more about each band.  Each live album review will be similar to my normal reviews but with a little more emphasis on the memories that each one possesses.

Here’s this week’s lineup:

Sunday: KISS – Alive II (1977)

Monday: Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)

Tuesday: Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)

Wednesday: Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)

Thursday: Royal Hunt – Live 1996 (1996)

Friday: UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)

Saturday: Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)

Vacation Playlist – 8/31 thru 9/7

I’m back from a quick vacation! I didn’t realize that I had to use some vacation days up quick or I would lose them so i took a quick unscheduled vacation from work. I love being in a union! I decided that I was going to also take the week to get away from my dependence on the Internet and television and just concentrate on listening to music and reading a good book or two. I won’t lie and say I cut both totally out but I did limit my time to an hour for each every day. Sometimes I just need to tune out!

Some other things I did last week involved birthdays, my youngest daughter turned 5 and my mom turned 59 the same day, so there was a birthday barbecue. The return of regular season NFL Football came last Thursday with the reigning champion New York Giants facing the Washington Redskins. As many long time readers know, I’m a New England Patriots season ticket holder so I had the opening regular season game today (I am not discussing Tom Brady’s injury at this time), so I tried out a few new recipes on the grill for the pre-game tailgate in the parking lot. Add my 4 hour fantasy football draft Saturday morning and you can see that I may have been on vacation but I still had a lot going on!

I spent a lot of time with new albums and live albums this past week. I have to catch up on reviews and I want to do a “live album week” at the end of the month so I pulled out a few candidates for those reviews.

Metal Church – This Present Wasteland (2008)
Iced Earth – The Crucible Of Man (2008)
Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008)
Cloudscape – Global Drama (2008)
Maiden Heaven: A Kerrang! Tribute To Iron Maiden (2008)
Venom – Hell (2008)
Motorhead – Motorizer (2008)
Ayreon – 01011001 (2008)
Royal Hunt – Collision Course – Paradox II (2008)
Avantasia – The Scarecrow (2008)
Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008)

These are the new albums that I have been rgiving serious rotation to the last couple of weeks. I’ve never really taken Avantasia and Judas Priest out of my weekly playlist, same goes for the new Ayreon but I’ve given it just a little more focus because there is so much to hear. The new albums from Royal Hunt, Motorhead, Cloudscape and Alice Cooper are all very good and I haven’t stopped enjoying them. I just picked up the new Venom recently (along with something else I know I’m forgetting, watch for an update on my purchases soon) and it’s…..well, Venom! Venom and Motorhead are so much alike in that they do the same thing over and over. Most of my listening went to advances of the new Iced Earth and Metal Church that I’ve had a few weeks now…..I’m preparing the Iced Earth review for this week, Metal Church next week.

KISS – Alive! (1975)
KISS – Alive II (1977)
Iron Maiden – Live After Death (1985)
Scorpions – World Wide Live (1985)
UFO – Strangers In The Night (1979)
UFO – Werewolves Of London: Live In Wolverhampton 1998 (1999)
Royal Hunt – Live In Japan 1996 (1996)
Michael Schenker Group – Live Unforgiven World Tour (1999)
Black Sabbath – Live Evil (1982)
Black Sabbath – Reunion (1998)
Queen – Live At Wembley ’86 (1992)
Queen – On Fire: Live At The Bowl ’82 (2004)
Judas Priest – Priest In The East (1979)
Judas Priest – Priest…..Live! (1987)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed (1982)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.2 (1998)
Saxon – The Eagle Has Landed Pt.3 (2006)
Krokus – Alive & Screamin’ (1986)
Jeff Scott Soto – Live At The Gods (2003)

That’s a pretty good list of live albums! Some of these albums were instrumental in my discovering studio albums from the bands, some were important in my understanding of different eras of the bands, but all of them had a profound influence on me. The first two KISS ALIVE albums are cornerstones of my love for Heavy Metal and KISS but I would also have to put LIVE AFTER DEATH and WORLD WIDE LIVE right there with them because they were cassettes I played to death back when I was kid. I should probably add the Krokus and Judas Priest live records to that list too.

I did a lot of comparisons: PRIEST IN THE EAST vs. PRIEST…..LIVE!, LIVE EVIL vs. REUNION, all 3 Saxon live albums. Some are no brainers so I expect everyone to comment how bad PRIEST…..LIVE! & REUNION are to two all-time classic live albums. Some of these albums like the UFO records, the Royal Hunt, MSG and Jeff Scott Soto have become favorites over the years and you can’t dispute Queen’s legacy in the live arena. My plan for the “live album week” is to pick 7 out of this list, or maybe pick 6 and throw in a surprise, for reviews and memories.

WANTED: Krokus – s/t (1976) & To You All (1977)

WANTED

 

Krokus – s/t debut (1976)

This is one of those “holy grail” albums that I want for my collection really badly. Krokus has been one of my favorite bands since 1982 when I first heard ‘Long Stick Goes Boom’ (from ONE VICE AT A TIME) on a local Metal radio program. Shortly after, I started reading more and more about the band in magazines like Metal Forces, Circus, and Hit Parader. Aside from filling a hole in my Krokus collection, this album stands out as a must have because it is the only album to not feature either guitarist Fernando Von Arb or vocalist Marc Storace. Most people believe that Von Arb started the band but it was really long time bassist/keyboardist Chris Von Rohr who founded Krokus and actually sang lead vocals on this album. I’ve seen this album twice on Ebay but the price was $100 U.S., this was around 1999. It’s very rare and out of print and is only available on vinyl.

Krokus – To You All (1977)

I need the second album too! TO YOU ALL brings classic Krokus members Fernando Von Arb, Freddy Steady, Tommy Keifer and Jurg Naegeli into the fold joining Von Rohr…..this was actually a joint effort between Krokus and Von Arb’s band Montezuma (with Naegeli & Steady) under the “Krokus” banner. It’s also the beginning of the band using the famous Krokus logo. This ones pops up on Ebay once in awhile on CD for about $35 from Switzerland. The Krokus website says that a Swiss company released it on CD but I’m skeptical on the authenticity, it could be a bootleg. I had a sealed copy of the LP in my hands in 2000 at a record store in my hometown and the price was the original $25 price tag from back in the ’80s for the import. I hadn’t been in the store in years so when I put it down and checked out the rest of the store, the owner grabbed it off the rack and slapped a fresh tag on it for double the price! I had been a regular at this particular store since I was a young kid and I knew the owner was a shady guy with a lot of questionable business practices as years went on so I wasn’t surprised to find a new sticker. Obviously I passed.

Anyone with any leads on these two albums, please contact me through the contact page of the website.

Current playlist – 6/30/08

It’s nice having my wife home on vacation from work…..today she decided to take the kids to the lake for the day to give me a break. I’m the stay-at-home Dad during the day and then I work at night, my quiet time is in the dark hours of the late night/early morning when everyone is sleeping.

So what do you do when the wife and kids leave for the day and all you have is the dog? You listen to as much music as possible!

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): There is so much debate on this album but I can’t stop listening to it, there is just so much to take in at once. Overall, I like it.

Motley Crue – Saints Of Los Angeles (2008): Playing this non-stop since Tuesday and I like it but there are a few songs that are filler…..then again, every Motley Crue album has some filler!

Night Ranger – Hole In The Sun (2008): Finally getting a release Tuesday (July 1) but it’s been out for about a year in Europe and Japan. It’s a more modern flavored AOR affair but there are still a lot of the trademark Night Ranger sound.

Infernophonic – Spark It Up (2007): Solid female fronted Hard Rock with a lot of guitars. I’ve been enjoying this all week so thanks to the band for sending it in, a review to come soon.

The Doors – Morrison Hotel (1970): I like me some Classic Rock and I have been a big Doors guy since I was a kid. How could you not turn on the local Rock station and not hear The Doors back in the early ’80s? This is my favorite Doors record, favorites here are ‘Blue Sunday’, ‘Ship Of Fools’, ‘Land Ho!’, ‘The Spy, ‘Indian Summer’. I used to sing ‘Indian Summer’ to my oldest daughter when she was a newborn.

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun (1968): Keeping with the Doors kick, I pulled this album out just to hear ‘Spanish Caravan’, ‘Yes, The River Knows’ and ‘Five To One’ but I listened to the whole thing. I love the riff in ‘Five To One’, you know the one Ace Frehley borrowed for ‘She’?

Krokus – Metal Rendezvous (1980): I have been on a huge Krokus kick the last couple of weeks. Many people think this is the debut but it’s actually the band’s 4th record, it is the debut of Marc Storace on lead vocals though. ‘Bedside Radio’, ‘Tokyo Nights’, & ‘Heatstrokes’ were big time players on the old boombox back in the day!

Armed Forces – Let There Be Metal (1984): I was looking through some old Metal Forces magazines from back in the day (I collect those too!) and the ad for this Brooklyn, New York Metal band stared me right in the face! I remembered this from my record store experiences as a kid but I have never heard it. Thanks to the good people at Vibrations Of Doom who were kind enough to post the E.P. up for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Armed Force – Heavy Artillery (1986): Well…..after a demo, Armed Forces split and became Armed Force. Original band name, huh? Lineup change at singer and drummer from the Armed Forces days and the sound is more Hard Rock than the E.P. Thanks again to Vibrations Of Doom who have this album up also for everyone’s listening pleasure.

Current Playlist

A lot has been going on in my life this weekend so the posting was put on hold for a couple of days. I changed shifts at work for this week so my assistant can have a deserved vacation week, I am returning to my natural overnight shift (12am-8am) for one whole week. For ten years I worked the overnight shift and, almost two years ago now, the powers that be changed it to 6pm-2am. That means I have a little more time to listen to music this week! Here’s what’s been spinning the last couple of days:

Judas Priest – Nostradamus (2008): Anytime the Priest returns with a new album, it’s a reason for me to celebrate. I’ve been a devout worshipper at the altar of Judas Priest since 1982 so I knew I would like the new record. The problem with NOSTRADAMUS isn’t the material, it’s the time. The album clocks in at over an hour and forty minutes! That’s serious listening. So far I like the record but I definitely need more time with it…..a lot more time…..

Moonspell –  Night Eternal (2008): I have had an advance of this album for a few weeks now and I am still listening to it. I haven’t really kept up with Moonspell in the last few years but NIGHT ETERNAL has me checking my Moonspell catalogue so I can fill a few holes. A review is coming…..

Headhunter – Parasite Of Society (2008): Destruction mainman Schmier has had Headhunter going since he left Destruction in 1990 and this is their fourth, and latest, album. It’s not Thrash like Destruction, more like Power Metal, and the vocals are a little hard to take. Review is coming…..

Heidevolk – Walhalla Wacht (2008): I’ve been getting into a lot of Pagan Metal/Viking Metal lately and Napalm Records has been very good to me by sending me some of the latest releases (Tyr, Hollenthon, Heidevolk, etc). The music is superb here, very grand sounding, but the lyrics are all in Dutch. That’s just a small complaint as I’ve just enjoyed listening to the music, it’s not always about the words. Review coming also…..

Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark (1993): I love this album! I remember back at the end of my high school years my friends and I were disappointed with 1990’s NO PRAYER FOR THE DYING. Maybe it was because SEVENTH SON was so good? When FEAR OF THE DARK came out in ’93, I waited in line for it at a local record store and got a free poster for my trouble! The title track is so good and ‘From Here To Eternity’ is just classic Maiden. A solid album that everyone forgets.

Iron Maiden – The X-Factor (1995) & Virtual XI (1998): The Blaze Bayley era! There were some good moments in the post-Bruce Maiden like ‘The Clansman’, ‘Man On The Edge’, ‘Sign Of The Cross’, ‘Futureal’…..those were the singles. I decided after the Maiden show Friday night that I had to revisit the Blaze era to give it a fresh listen. Hard to believe these albums were released 13 and 10 years ago respectively.

Krokus – Rock The Block (2003): Marc Storace returns to the band after an 8 year absence and Fernando Von Arb is still pumping out boogie riffs this side of AC/DC’s Angus Young. This “reunion” is basically the Storace/Von Arb show but it was the best Krokus album since HEART ATTACK (1988). This would be one of my Top 10 of 2003.

Iced Earth – Framing Armageddon (2007): What was one of my Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#13) has now become an afterthought. I’ve barely listened to it since the new year and I didn’t even bother to review it. I’m preparing a post on albums I missed in 2007 that I’ve finally bought and I decided to revisit this record.

Kamelot – Ghost Opera (2007): Kamelot is one of my favorite bands and I have been listening to this album once a week since it came out. I decided to really give it a fresh round of spins so I can review it. Another album that made my Top 15 Albums of 2007 (#10), I would rate it higher today.

Journey – Revelation (2008): I really like this record and I’ve been giving this a lot of time on the stereo…..just the new songs mostly.